Pubdate: Tue, 06 Aug 2002
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: David Rider, of The Ottawa Citizen


Doctor Who Beat Drug Addiction Faces College Disciplinary Action

TORONTO -- An Ottawa physician who kicked a serious drug habit, returned to 
practice and counselled others with addictions now faces serious charges 
before a disciplinary panel.

Dr. Dan Sweet was to face the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario 
this morning accused of incompetence, failing to uphold the standards of 
his profession and conduct that could be considered "disgraceful, 
dishonourable or unprofessional."

The college, which oversees doctors' conduct, did not respond to a request 
for details of the allegations.

Dr. Sweet could not be reached for comment.

In a 1999 article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Sweet 
said he had "no idea the Pandora's box I was opening," in 1987 when he took 
the drug thiopental to help him sleep after a three-day shift as a resident 
at National Defence Medical Centre.

"I hate this disease," he said of his addiction, while describing years of 
subsequent narcotics abuse, his terror of being caught and the eventual 
loss of his job as chief of anesthesiology at Cornwall General Hospital, 
where he had ordered drugs for himself.

Dr. Sweet, a University of Ottawa graduate who hails from an RCMP family 
that moved to Ottawa when he was a boy, sought addiction treatment after 
almost killing himself by mistakenly injecting a muscle relaxant instead of 

After treatment in Toronto, relapses and a stint in an Atlanta treatment 
facility that saw him miss the birth of his fourth child, Dr. Sweet finally 
kicked his habit and opened an Ottawa practice.

His office is on Hunt Club Road.

"I hate what (addiction) does to families. I also know there is proper and 
effective treatment," he told the medical journal.

"The more we succeed with people with this disease, the more they become 
advocates for (adequate) resources and government funding."

Dr. Sweet has also spoken publicly about his battle with fibromyalgia, a 
medically unexplained condition that causes pain in the muscles, joints, 
ligaments and tendons.

And, on a Web page eulogizing Peter McWilliams, a California self-help 
author, poet and advocate of medical uses for marijuana, including pain 
relief, Dr. Sweet wrote: "Harm Reduction is unpopular in Ontario's College 
of Physicians and Surgeons."
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